Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tigers, zombies and homeless families inside my brain.

Ever since I woke up this morning and watched the news on CNN, I've been filled with grim anger and a disgust so deep my soul is twisted.  Some truly insane man believed he had the right to keep lions and tigers, wolves and bears as his personal possessions and last night, he killed himself and let the animals free.  Today most of them are dead, killed by law enforcement because the public was in immediate danger.  Pointless, pointless, should never have happened. 

So it only seemed par for the course later this morning when I got an email about the immediate limiting of shelter access for homeless families.  I wrote about this over on the Arise blog, and we're calling for an emergency membership meeting for next Wednesday at 5:30.  But somehow homeless families and tigers are together in my mind, looking for freedom, looking for security, scared and furious all at the same time.  Some of us will go down fighting and some of us will just go down.  Or maybe, somehow, we can find some safety.  But we are far from home.

I had a zombie dream last night.  They are falling out of closets and vegetable bins, and seem more a nuisance than a danger.  I am in some public banquet hall waiting for President Obama to arrive.  I am hungry and I'm going around to people's leftover plates and eating the pie crust that is left on them.  Finally Obama charmingly takes the stage and starts doing a soft shoe dance.  He asks a young Black girl who is watching to come up on stage and dance with him, but she declines.  I find out that a poet is passing through Springfield and decide to ask him if he'll come to Arise and read a few poems, but his business agent gets involved and it turns into a big deal and I decide to forget it.  End of dream. 

Before I set off for Arise I just had to look up "soft shoe" in the Urban and other slang dictionaries to see what I was trying to tell myself.  Besides the obvious reference to African-American dance, soft shoe can also mean to move surreptitiously, cautiously and quietly.  It's also hobo slang for a railroad detective.  Anyway, Obama is not the one I'm waiting for, and the poet stood me up.

I have to move out of my apartment because my landlord sold the house and I can't find a place to live that I can afford. I'm trying to avoid panic and expect to wind up in Housing Court at some point (but I can't live there.).  Tonight I found myself saying to my cats, in a faux Southern accent, "Wherever shall I go?  Whatever shall I do?"   It is somewhat of a comfort to me to know so many others are in my same position-- limits the amount of self-blame for being poor.  On the other hand, I'm a lot better off-- don't have kids at home anymore, and I only have to worry about me and my cats. 

So I guess it's extra important for me to feel that if there was ever a time when the power of the people could make a difference, this is the time.

Graphic: Abi Cushman.

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